Barry MacKay

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For the British actor, see Barry MacKay (actor).
Barry MacKay
Barry MacKay.png
MacKay in Michigan, 1957
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1935-08-31)August 31, 1935
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died June 15, 2012(2012-06-15) (aged 76)
San Francisco, United States
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Turned pro 1961 (#1 US amateur 1960)
Retired 1970
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Career titles 24
Highest ranking No. 4 (1959, Lance Tingay)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (1959)
French Open QF (1960)
Wimbledon SF (1959)
US Open QF (1959)
Professional majors
US Pro SF (1961, 1962)
Wembley Pro QF (1961, 1962, 1967)
French Pro QF (1961, 1963, 1967)

Barry MacKay (August 31, 1935 – June 15, 2012) was an American tennis player, tournament director and tennis broadcaster.[2] While competing in college for the University of Michigan, he won the singles title of the 1957 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship to clinch the team title for Michigan. He was also a finalist in the 1957 NCAA doubles competition with Dick Potter. He won 5 Big Ten Conference titles, 1956-57 in singles and 1955-57 in doubles. In 1955, he lost the singles title to Warren Mueller of Wisconsin. He competed on five United States Davis Cup teams from 1956 to 1960 and was a doubles finalist at the U.S. Open in 1958, with Sam Giammalva. In 1959, he reached the singles semifinals at the Australian Championships and at the The Championships, Wimbledon where he lost to Rod Laver in five sets. He was seeded No. 1 at the French Championships in 1960, and reached the quarterfinals. He had won the Italian Championships in early May, beating defending champion, Luis Ayala, in five sets. MacKay had twice won the Pacific Coast Championships, first in 1959, and again in 1960, when he also won ten more tournaments, to earn the No. 1 ranking in the United States. Also in 1960, he won the Bob Hope Award for the Amateur Athlete of the Year.

Mackay died in San Francisco on June 15, 2012 after a long illness.[3]

Early years[edit]

MacKay was born in Cincinnati and grew up in Dayton, Ohio. In 1950, he won the National Boys Indoor Doubles Championship. He was the Ohio State High School Tennis Champion in 1952.

Playing career[edit]

MacKay enjoyed a 17-year career as an amateur and a professional tennis player, winning 29 singles titles and 11 doubles. He started his tennis career in the 1950, as National Boys Indoor champion and then in 1952, as the Ohio State High School Champion. From there, he enrolled at the University of Michigan and played under tennis coach William E. "Bill" Murphy. He practiced often with Andy Paton,Jr, who made him a better player. He won five Big Ten Conference championships while at the University of Michigan— 2 Singles championships in 1956 and 1957, and 3 Doubles championships with partner, Dick Potter, in 1955, 1956, and 1957.[4] In June 1957, MacKay won the singles title at the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship, defeating Sam Giammalva of Texas in five sets 6-4,3-6,6-2,3-6,6-3 at Salt Lake City. This win enabled the Michigan Wolverines to capture their first and only NCAA Team Championship. He was the first Big Ten player to win the NCAA singles title, was runner-up for the doubles title with partner, Dick Potter, losing in four sets to Crawford Henry and Ron Holmberg of Tulane, and was the first Michigan player to be named as an All-American.

MacKay also played on five United States Davis Cup teams in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960, and in three final rounds. The 1958 Davis Cup team of Alex Olmedo, Ham Richardson, and Barry MacKay beat Australia for the Championship. In 1959, he beat Rod Laver 7-5,6-4,6-1 in the Davis Cup Finals at Forest Hills. He is the only American to beat Laver in Davis Cup competition.

After winning the NCAA Singles Title in June 1957, MacKay played amateur tennis for three additional summers. In 1959, he reached the Australian Semifinals and at Wimbledon, he lost in the Semifinals to Rod Laver in 87 games over five sets 11–13, 11–9, 10–8, 7–9, 6–3. He also reached the Quarterfinals of the U.S. Championships. In 1960, he was ranked as the No. 1 amateur in the U.S. after winning eleven tournaments: Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, River Oaks, River Forest (U.S. Clay Courts), Rome (Italian Championship), New York Indoors (Nationals), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tuscaloosa, and Victoria, Australia. MacKay defeated defending champion, Luis Ayala, in the final of the Italian Championship in five sets and was seeded No. 1 at the 1960 French Championships, where he lost in the quarterfinals in straight sets to Orlando Sirola.

In 1961, MacKay turned professional. He played three years with the Jack Kramer Professional Tennis Tour. MacKay recalled the Kramer Tour, "Matches were played in one city after another on a nightly basis across the country and around the world. It was a barnstorming type of tour."[5]

Directing tournaments[edit]

In 1964, MacKay moved to California and worked for Jack Kramer on the Professional Tennis Tour. He remained with Kramer through 1966, when he moved to Sausalito, CA. In 1970, MacKay bought the controlling interest in the ATP Pacific Coast Championships in Berkeley, California, and he was ranked #9 in the U.S. In 1973, he started a company named BMK Sports, which operated his major tennis event. Barry played his last tournament in Palm Beach in 1973. He was known as Mr.Wild Card for adding Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe to his tournament draw even though they did not qualify. He was influential in Bay Area tennis circles and contributed his time and money. Barry's longtime friends were his agent Donald Dell, Bud Collins, Dick Gould, coach at Stanford, sportswriter, Joel Drucker and Brad Gilbert.

Broadcasting career[edit]

Starting in the 1970s, MacKay became a tennis broadcaster. Over his 30-year broadcasting career, MacKay teamed with Arthur Ashe, Bud Collins, Donald Dell, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, John McEnroe, Pam Shriver, Tracy Austin, and Leif Shiras. He was the on-air voice for American broadcasts of the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open,and many ATP and WTA tournaments. He also provided color commentary, play-by-play, and lead analysis for The Tennis Channel, DirecTV, and Versus. He spent 30 years with HBO broadcasting Wimbledon, and the US Open on USA Network. He provided color commentary on Fox Sports Network, and served as the play-by-play announcer for the NBC Sports coverage of tennis at the 2008 Summer Olympics in China.[6]


Mackay died in San Francisco on June 15, 2012 after a long illness. He is survived by his wife, Michele and daughter, Kelly.[7][8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 427.
  2. ^ "Tennis - ATP World Tour - Tennis Legend Barry MacKay Passes Away". ATP World Tour. September 30, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Barry MacKay: 1935-2012, Tennis standout ran bay area tourney". San Francisco Chronicle. June 16, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ "University of Michigan Athletics - Men's Tennis". July 24, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup - A blog on sports media, news and networks -
  7. ^ "Barry MacKay: 1935-2012, Tennis standout ran bay area tourney". San Francisco Chronicle. June 16, 2012. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Former Wolverine Great, NCAA Singles Champ MacKay Passes Away". University of Michigan. June 16, 2012. 

External links[edit]